CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Newly-appointed House of Delegates member and Charleston Attorney JB Akers says he is feeling hopeful about the future of jobs and the shape of the local economy in West Virginia following the State of the State address Wednesday night.

JB Akers

Recently appointed by Gov. Jim Justice to the West Virginia House of Delegates to serve the 55th District in Kanawha County, Akers replaces former Delegate Moore Capito who now focuses on his GOP gubernatorial run for the May 14 primary election.

Akers was in attendance at the State of the State address with his wife, Kanawha County Circuit Judge Maryclaire Akers. He said while he’s been to the capitol on multiple occasions, this visit felt particularly surreal now as a part of the legislative decision-making process.

“I just thought about how when I was a kid I’d come to the capitol on school trips or for some reason like that, but I never imagined I would actually be a delegate sitting on the floor, so in that way when I think about it it’s just very special,” said Akers.

Akers said lawmakers have a lot of work to do going into the 60-day legislative session, but he said he feels good about what can be done for the future of the state following the big economic wins it has seen so far.

One element of that in particular he said he feels good about is regarding the influx of people who have recently been coming into the state to make it their new home.

“Last year was when we saw a net migration in the state in terms of more people coming to the state as opposed to leaving which is a huge turn around, so those things are all great but there’s more work to be done,” he said.

Akers said his plan for some of the work he wants to see get done in the House is to play off of those major statewide economic and job developments and bring them closer to home and directly into Kanawha County.

“The Kanawha Valley just used to have such huge industry, I’d like to see a return to some of that, so that’s my focus is jobs and the economy and I think that’s the focus of this legislature it seems to me, so those things are good to hear,” Akers said.

Akers said he wants to see even more economic diversification come to the Kanawha Valley and the state.